Lamentations 2:6
And he hath violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden: he hath destroyed his places of the assembly: the LORD hath caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest.
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(6) He hath violently taken away his tabernacle . . .—The noun represents a “booth” or “shed,” like those erected in the Feast of Tabernacles. Jehovah is represented as laying waste that “tabernacle,” i.e., His own temple, as a man might remove a temporary shed from an orchard or garden.

His places of the assembly.—The noun is the same as that rendered “solemn feasts” in the next clause. The destruction involved the non-observance of all such feasts, as well as of the sabbath. “King and priest,” the two representatives of the nation’s life (Jeremiah 33:21), were alike, as it seemed, rejected.

Lamentations 2:6-7. He hath violently taken away his tabernacle as of a garden — The Vulgate reads, dissipavit, quasi hortum, tentorium suum; he hath dissolved, broke in pieces, scattered, or laid waste, his tent as a garden. Thus also Houbigant: that is, he hath destroyed the temple, the place of his residence, and of our religious assemblies, as if it had been no better than a tent or cottage set up in a garden, or vineyard, just while the fruit was gathering, and then to be taken down again. This interpretation of the original text, which is, יחמס כגן שׂכו, supposes שׂכו to be written for סכו words exactly alike in sound, though not always in sense, and frequently put the one for the other. But, as the former, from שׂוךְ, to hedge, originally signifies his hedge, many think the most proper rendering of the Hebrew, and the true sense of the passage is, as in the margin, He hath taken away his hedge as of a garden; that is, he hath withdrawn his protection, and left us exposed to the mercy of our enemies. He hath destroyed his places of the assembly — This translation, as also that of the Vulgate, understands this as a repetition of the former clause; but, as sixty MSS. and one edition, instead of מעדו, read מועדו at large, Blaney takes the congregation of Jehovah to be intended, rather than the place of their assembly, and renders the words, He hath destroyed his congregation, namely, the people of Israel, the vineyard, which he had heretofore kept under his special protection. The Lord hath caused the solemn feasts, &c., to be forgotten — Or rather, as שׁכח is more properly rendered, hath forgotten the solemn feasts, &c., that is, “holds those services no longer in esteem, but slights and disregards them:” compare Isaiah 1:14-15. And hath despised the king and the priest — Hath shown no regard for either of those honourable offices, but hath suffered the kingdom to be destroyed, and the temple to be laid waste. He hath abhorred his sanctuary — It had been defiled with sin, that only thing which he hates, and for the sake of that he hath abhorred it, though he had formerly delighted in, and called it his rest for ever, Psalm 132:14. They have made a noise in the house of the Lord, &c. — “Instead of the joyful sound of praises and thanksgivings to God, such as used to be solemnly performed in the temple at the public festivals, there was nothing to be heard there but the noise of soldiers, and the rudeness of infidels, profaning that sacred place, and insulting the true God, who was worshipped there: compare Psalm 74:4.” — Lowth.

2:1-9 A sad representation is here made of the state of God's church, of Jacob and Israel; but the notice seems mostly to refer to the hand of the Lord in their calamities. Yet God is not an enemy to his people, when he is angry with them and corrects them. And gates and bars stand in no stead when God withdraws his protection. It is just with God to cast down those by judgments, who debase themselves by sin; and to deprive those of the benefit and comfort of sabbaths and ordinances, who have not duly valued nor observed them. What should they do with Bibles, who make no improvement of them? Those who misuse God's prophets, justly lose them. It becomes necessary, though painful, to turn the thoughts of the afflicted to the hand of God lifted up against them, and to their sins as the source of their miseries.tabernacle - Or, covert Jeremiah 25:38, i. e. such a tent of boughs as was put up at the Feast of Tabernacles. The words mean, "the Lord hath (as) violently destroyed His booth. as a man might tear down a shed in "a garden."" Compare Isaiah 1:8.

His places of the assembly - Or, "His great festivals" (Lamentations 1:15 note). It is the Word rendered "solemn feasts" in the next clause, and rightly joined there with "sabbaths," the weekly, as the other were the annual festivals. It is no longer אדני 'ădonāy, but the Lord (Yahweh) who lets them pass into oblivion. He had once instituted them for His own honor, now He lets them lie forgotten.

Hath despised ... - Or, "hath rejected" king and priest. With the destruction of the city the royal authority fell: with the ruined temple and the cessation of the festivals the functions of the priest ceased.

6. tabernacle—rather, "He hath violently taken away His hedge (the hedge of the place sacred to Him, Ps 80:12; 89:40; Isa 5:5), as that of a garden" [Maurer]. Calvin supports English Version, "His tabernacle (that is, temple) as (one would take away the temporary cottage or booth) of a garden." Isa 1:8 accords with this (Job 27:18).

places of … assembly—the temple and synagogues (Ps 74:7, 8).

solemn feasts—(La 1:4).


The word translated

tabernacle (say some) signifies a hedge or fence, and they would have it here so translated, and so the phrase should denote God’s withdrawing his protection from the Jews; but it is no where so translated. It is another word used Psalm 80:12 89:40. The most judicious interpreters think that the word here signifieth the temple, and the rather because of what followeth. By the

places of the assembly may be understood the synagogues. By

the king and the priest are meant persons of greatest rank and eminency, though it is thought here is a special reference to Zedekiah the king of Judah, and Seraiah who was the high priest, the former of which was miserably handled, the latter slain.

And he hath violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden,.... The house of the sanctuary or temple, as the Targum; which was demolished at once with great force and violence, and as easily done as a tent or tabernacle is taken down; and no more account made of it than of a cottage or lodge in a vineyard or garden, set up while the fruit was, gathering; either to shelter from the heat of the sun in the day, or to lodge in at night; see Isaiah 1:8;

he hath destroyed his places in the assembly; the courts where the people used to assemble for worship in the temple; or the synagogues in Jerusalem, and other parts of the land:

the Lord hath caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion; there being neither places to keep them in, nor people to observe them:

and hath despised, in the indignation of his anger, the king and the priest; whose persons and offices were sacred, and ought to be treated by men with honour and respect; but, for the sins of both, the Lord despised them himself, and made them the object of his wrath and indignation, and suffered them to be despised and ill used by others, by the Chaldeans; Zedekiah had his children slain before his eyes, and then they were put out, and he was carried in chains to Babylon, and there detained a captive all his days; and Seraiah the chief priest, or, as the Targum here has it, the high priest, was put to death by the king of Babylon; though not only the persons of the king and priest are meant, but their offices also; the kingdom and priesthood ceased from being exercised for many years.

And he hath violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden: he hath destroyed his places of the assembly: the LORD hath caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest.
6. And he hath violently … of a garden] The expression is obscure. The natural sense of the Eng. would be that He has taken away His tabernacle (the Temple) out of Jerusalem as unconcernedly as a pleasure booth might be removed from a garden (cp. Job 27:18). But as a garden is a better rendering of the Heb., and so we get the thought that the Temple was destroyed and broken up with as much ease as a garden that had failed to please its owner. The fact that the LXX has as a vine (Heb. gephen) while the Heb. as it stands has gan, a garden, has led to the conjecture (so de Hoop Scheffer) that gannab, a thief, was the original reading. On this hypothesis the MT. might easily have been altered, if considered as an indecorous comparison, into one of the other two words. If we accept Scheffer’s view we must understand that Jehovah has broken through the hedge (see mg.) which protected Zion, as a thief would make his way through a hedge in order to steal property which it protected. Secrecy rather than violence, however, is what we associate with theft (cp. Jeremiah 49:9), and so far the comparison is inappropriate.

place of assembly] The same word in the Heb. as that which is immediately afterwards rendered solemn assembly (mg. appointed feast) which is its usual sense, although the former one occurs Psalm 64:8. The occurrence of the same word in somewhat different senses in two consecutive clauses is suspicious, but no very satisfactory emendation has been suggested.

the king] associated here with the priest by virtue of his theocratic character. Cp. Lamentations 4:20.

Verse 6. - Violently taken away; rather, violently treated; i.e. broken up. His tabarnacle; rather, his booth. "Tent" and "dwelling" are interchangeable expressions (see ver. 4); and in the Psalms "booth" is used as a special poetic synonym for tent when God's earthly dwelling place, the sanctuary of the temple, is spoken of (so Psalm 27:5; Psalm 31:20; Psalm 76:2). The Authorized Version, indeed, presumes an allusion to the proper meaning of the Hebrew word, as if the poet compared the sanctuary of Jehovah to a pleasure booth in a garden. It is, however, more natural to continue, as a garden, the sense of which will be clear from Psalm 80:12, 13. The Septuagint has, instead, "as a vine" - a reading which differs from the Massoretic by having one letter more (kaggefen instead of kaggan). This ancient reading is adopted by Ewald, and harmonizes well with Isaiah 5:1, etc.; Jeremiah 2:21 (comp. Psalm 80:8); but the received text gives a very good sense. "Garden" in the Bible means, of course, a plantation of trees rather than a flower garden. His places of the assembly; rather, his place of meeting (with God). The word occurs in the same sense in Psalm 74:3. It is the temple which is meant, and the term is borrowed from the famous phrase, ohel mo'edh (Exodus 27:21; comp. 25:22). Lamentations 2:6In Lamentations 2:6 and Lamentations 2:7, mention is made of the destruction of the temple and the cessation of public worship. "He treated violently (cruelly)," i.e., laid waste, "like a garden, His enclosure." שׂך (from שׂוּך equals שׂכך, to intertwine, hedge round) signifies a hedge or enclosure. The context unmistakeably shows that by this we are to understand the temple, or the holy place of the temple; hence שׂך is not the hedging, but what is hedged in. But the comparison כּגּן has perplexed expositors, and given occasion for all kinds of artificial and untenable explanations. We must not, of course, seek for the point of the comparison in the ease with which a garden or garden-fence may be destroyed, for this does not accord with the employment of the verb חמס; but the garden is viewed as a pleasure-ground, which its owner, if it does not suit its purpose, destroys or gives up again, without much hesitation. The emphasis lies on the suffix in שׂכּו, "His own enclosure," God's enclosure equals the sacred enclosure (Gerlach), the sanctuary protected by Himself, protected by laws intended to keep the sanctity of the temple from profanation. The second clause states the same thing, and merely brings into prominence another aspect of the sanctity of the temple by the employment of the word מועדו. This noun, as here used, does not mean the "time," but the "place of meeting;" this is not, however, the place where the people assemble, but the place of meeting of the Lord with His people, where He shows Himself present, and grants His favour to the congregation appearing before Him. Thus, like אהל מועד, the word signifies the place where God reveals His gracious presence to His people; cf. Exodus 25:22, and the explanation of נועדתּי given in that passage. In the first member of the verse, the temple is viewed as a place sacred to God; in the second, as the place where He specially manifests His gracious presence in Israel. With the destruction of the temple, Jahveh (the covenant God) caused feast and Sabbath, i.e., all public festivals and divine service, to be forgotten. The destruction of the sacred spots set apart for the worship of the Lord was attended with the cessation of the sacred festivals. Thereby it became evident that the Lord, in His fierce anger, had rejected king and priest. The singulars, festival, Sabbath, king, and priest, are used in unrestricted generality. King and priest are regarded as the divinely chosen media of the covenant graces. The abolition of public worship practically involved that of the priesthood, for the service of the priests was connected with the temple. Expositors are much divided in their views regarding the object for which the king is here mentioned in connection with the priest. There is no special need for refuting the opinion of Thenius, that king and priest are named as the two main factors in the worship of God, because the seat of the king was upon Zion as well as that of the priesthood; for the seat of the priests was as little on Mount Zion as the king's palace was on the temple mount. Moreover, the words do not treat of the destruction of the royal palace and the dwellings of the priests, but declare that royalty and the priesthood will be rejected. The mention of the king in connection with the priests implies a close connection also of royalty with the temple. Ngelsbach, accordingly, is of opinion that the kings also belong to the number of those summoned to celebrate the feasts, and were not merely Jehovah's substitutes before the people, but also "representatives of the people before God;" for he adopts the remark of Oehler (in Herzog's Real Enc. viii. S. 12), that "the Israelitish kingdom (especially in David and Solomon) bears a certain sacerdotal character, inasmuch as the king, at the head of the people and in their name, pays homage to God, and brings back again to the people the blessing of God (2 Samuel 6:17.; 1 Kings 3:4; 1 Kings 8:14., 55ff., 62ff., 1 Kings 9:25; 1 Chronicles 29:10.; 2 Chronicles 1:6, compared with Ezekiel 46:1.)." This sacerdotal character of royalty, however, was but the outcome of the sacerdotal character of the people of Israel. In view of this, the king, because of his position as the head of the people in civil matters (for he was praecipuum ecclesiae membrum), fully brought out the relation of the people to the Lord, without, however, discharging any peculiarly sacerdotal function. The complaint in the present verse, - that, with the destruction of the temple, and the abolition of the service connected with it, Jahveh had rejected king and priest, - implies that royalty in Israel stood in as intimate connection with the temple as the priesthood did. This connection, however, is not to be sought for so much in the fact that it was the incumbent duty of the theocratic king, in the name and at the head of the people, to pay homage to God, and to see that the public worship of Jahve was upheld; we must rather seek for it in the intimate relation instituted by God between the maintenance of the Davidic monarchy and the building of the house of God. This connection is exhibited in the promise made by God to David, when the latter had resolved to build a house for the Lord to dwell in: He (Jahveh) shall build a house to him (David), viz., raise up his seed after him, and establish his kingdom for ever; and this seed of David shall build a house to His name (2 Samuel 7:12.). This promise, in virtue of which Solomon built the temple as a dwelling for the name of Jahveh, connected the building of the temple so closely with the kingdom of David, that this continued existence of the temple might be taken as a pledge of the continuance of David's house; while the destruction of the temple, together with the abolition of the public ministrations, might, on the other hand, serve as a sign of the rejection of the Davidic monarchy. Viewing the matter in this light, Jeremiah laments that, with the destruction of the temple and the abolition of the public festivals, Jahveh has rejected king and priest, i.e., the royal family of David as well as the Levitical priesthood.

In Lamentations 2:7, special mention is further made of the rejection of the altar, and of the sanctuary as the centre of divine worship. The verbs זנח and נאר are used in Psalm 89:39-40, in connection with the rejection of the Davidic monarchy. "The sanctuary," mentioned in connection with "the altar," does not mean the temple in general, but its inner sanctuary, - the holy place and the most holy place, as the places of worship corresponding to the altar of the fore-court. The temple-building is designated by "the walls of her palaces." For, that by ארמנותיה we are to understand, not the palaces of the city of David, the royal palaces, but the towering pile of the temple, is unmistakeably evident from the fact that, both before and after, it is the temple that is spoken of, - not its fortifications, the castles specially built for its defence (Thenius); because ארמון does not mean a fortified building, but (as derived from ארם, to be high) merely a lofty pile. Such were the buildings of the temple in consequence of their lofty situation on Moriah. In the house of Jahveh, the enemy raises a loud cry (נתן קול, cf. Jeremiah 22:20), as on a feast-day. The cry is therefore not a war-cry (Pareau, Rosenmller), but one of jubilee and triumph, as if they had come into the temple to a festival: in Psalm 74:4, the word used is שׁאג, to roar as a lion.

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